Monday’s Game Report: Cardinals 3, Brewers 0
By Rob Rains
In the Cardinals long and illustrious history, there is at least one thing they have never accomplished, but they came ever so close on Monday night at Busch Stadium.
In the 127 seasons the Cardinals have been playing in the National League since 1892, they have never thrown a combined no-hitter. They fell four outs short of doing that in the series opener against the Brewers.
A two-out ground-rule double by Yasmani Grandal off Giovanny Gallegos into the right field corner broke up the no hit bid in the eighth after Dakota Hudson held the Brewers without a hit for the first 6 2/3 innings.
Hudson, who walked four, was pulled from the game after throwing 111 pitches, only the second time in 24 starts he threw more than 100 pitches. It was one less than his career high of 112 on June 22.
“It wasn’t a tough decision,” said manager Mike Shildt about pulling Hudson. “We saw the way the tea leaves were going. There weren’t just enough bullets to justify it. He had more than done his job.
“If he was at 80 pitches we let it ride, let him go for it.”
It was the second one-hitter for the Cardinals this season and their seventh at Busch Stadium 3 since it opened in 2006. Jaime Garcia held the Brewers to one hit on April 14, 2016. The hit was a single by Domingo Santana in the sixth inning.
The last no-hitter in St. Louis was thrown by Bob Forsch against the Expos on Sept. 26, 1983.
The win opened a half-game lead for the Cardinals over the Cubs at the top of the NL Central. The Cubs had Monday off.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: A pair of hit-and-run singles helped the Cardinals score twice in the fifth. After Matt Carpenter drew a leadoff walk, he went to third on a single by Yadier Molina and scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Kolten Wong. Wong advanced to second on a bunt, and running on the play, scored on a single by Dexter Fowler … Paul DeJong increased the lead to 3-0 with a home run with two outs in the sixth, his 22nd of the season. The blast broke the M in the Big Mac Land sign in left field.
On the mound: It was the second consecutive start without allowing a run for Hudson, who threw six shutout innings at Kansas City on Aug. 14. He walked Christian Yelich in the first and the fourth, Grandal in the sixth and Eric Thames, the last batter he faced, in the seventh … The no-hit bid was kept alive by a diving stop by DeJong behind second base in the sixth … Gallegos got the final out in the seventh and the first two outs in the eighth, pitching around a fielding error by DeJong, before Grandal’s double … Andrew Miller relieved and after intentionally walking Yelich, got a ground out with the bases loaded to end the inning. Miller then retired the Brewers in order in the ninth to complete the Cardinals eighth shutout of the season.
Key stat: The win improved Hudson’s record to a team-leading 12-6, which is tied for the third highest win total in the NL. The last rookie to lead the Cardinals in wins was Matt Morris with 12 in 1997.
Worth noting: The Cardinals already crowded outfield could be getting even more competition for playing time soon. It sounds as if Harrison Bader could be coming back from Memphis sooner rather than later, and both Tyler O’Neill and Jose Martinez could be headed out on rehab assignments before the end of the week, the final step before they would be activated from the injured list … Bader hit his third home run in the last two days on Monday night, his seventh since he was sent down to Memphis. He also extended his hitting streak to nine games and is now hitting .317. “He has done everything we asked him to do,” said Shildt … The Cardinals released their spring training schedule for next season on Monday. Games will begin on Feb. 22 and run through March 22 in Florida. They only have three games away from the Jupiter area, a two-game swing to Fort Myers to play the Twins and Red Sox and one game against the Braves at their new spring home in North Port, near Sarasota.
Looking ahead: Michael Wacha will get the start on Tuesday night in the second game of the series against the Brewers.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains